Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie walks through the U.S. Capitol after meeting with Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie stopped by for a quick chat with Senate Republicans at the Capitol on Wednesday, though he insisted the visit had nothing to do with the ongoing government shutdown and looming fiscal crisis.
Still, the possible 2016 presidential hopeful did take a swipe at his hosts when asked whether the government shutdown and possible upcoming breach of the debt ceiling would hurt the economy.
"I don't think it's ever good to keep the government closed when your job is to run the government," Christie said.
The New Jersey governor insisted he was only in the building to visit New Jersey Sen. Jeff Chiesa, who Christie appointed to fill the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg's seat. Christie, Chiesa and the Senate leadership met in Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's office for over an hour on Wednesday.
"I'm just down here today to have a visit with the senator and he's introduced me to some of the new friends he's made over the last 4.5 months and that's all today is about," Christie told reporters as he left the Capitol building.
But didn't Christie -- in a debate just a day before insist he could walk and chew gum at the same time?
"Sure, sure, but only if I want to," Christie said.
Capitol Hill currently houses a number of Republicans who are viewed as possible opponents of Christie's in any GOP presidential primary. Sens. Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz are frequently mentioned as likely candidates.
Christie dodged a question about whether the ongoing fiscal crisis and shutdown gave him an opening to run for president as a pragmatist as compared to legislators who have collectively mired the country in the shutdown.
"I'm running for governor of New Jersey, so hopefully I have enough room to get re-elected. But it's good to see all of you, thank you for coming," he said. "All of this attention is really just so flattering, I appreciate it."
First published October 9 2013, 1:07 PM